Kroos eyes unusual role against Turkey

BERLIN, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Toni Kroos is likely to start Germany's Euro 2012 qualifier against Turkey on Friday in an unusual holding midfield role with injuries forcing coach Joachim Low to use the attack-minded player more defensively.

With over 30,000 Turkey fans expected at the Olympic stadium, drawn mainly from the large Turkish community in Berlin, the Germans expect a fiery encounter against their Group A rivals, with both teams on six points from two games.

The two countries met in the Euro 2008 semi-finals with Germany beating Turkey 3-2 before losing to Spain in the final.

Bayern Munich's 20-year-old Kroos is set to partner Real Madrid's Sami Khedira in a 4-2-3-1 formation after Bastian Schweinsteiger was sidelined with an ankle injury and versatile midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz was also ruled out on Tuesday.

"The Turks are also group favourites but we definitely want to win this group and qualify directly," said Low, who has worked in Turkey during his coaching career.

"So this is a special game for us. I think it is somewhat of an away game given the large number of Turkish fans. With that kind of support their players can exceed individual expectations. We are prepared for such a possibility."

Low's own players will need to do up their game, with a frontline that has yet to really come together since their exciting third-place finish at this year's World Cup.

In their first two qualifiers, against weaker opponents Belgium and Azerbaijan, Germany were never really pushed but Low expects a tougher fight with Turkey.

Stefan Kiessling's injury means the only all-out strikers in Germany's squad are Cacau, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez - a trio that has scored a total of two league goals this season.


Turkey coach Guus Hiddink, who only took over in August, has his own problems, having had to drop the injured Selcuk Sahin from the squad.

Midfielder Hamit Altintop has yet to train with his team mates and could be doubtful while left winger Arda Turan is racing to recover from an ankle injury he suffered in last month's qualifier with Belgium.

The Dutchman could use in-form Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin alongside the experienced Emre Belozoglu.

"We are still at the very start of our work," Hiddink warned this week, after his team had beaten Kazakhstan as well as Belgium in their opening qualifiers.

"Germany are expected to qualify top of the group but we must show (in Berlin) that this is our aim as well. We want to top the group at the end and it is still a long road ahead."